Over the years, my blog readers have emailed me asking about my wedding suppliers, for a copy of my misalette, and many other questions. The one I love and dread the most is "How did you know you were ready to get married?" I love it because I have never been so sure of anything in my life! I dread it because when people ask, that already means they're not ready to get married yet and I don't know to tell them that!
How did I know I was ready to get married? There were many factors that decided it for me (detailed below), other than the fact that I loved Vince. Honestly, love isn't a good enough reason to walk down that aisle. If love was the only reason for marriage, then what do you do if the love fades or even goes away? It sometimes does, you know, when the drudgery of work suffocates you both and the children overwhelm a marriage. What happens when you fall for someone else? Or when you're far apart and can't love each other with affection and service? Marriage isn't about feelings. It's about commitment, family, duty. Love makes those easier, but if you can't commit, if you don't want to be part of a family, and if you have no honor to fulfill your duties, then you shouldn't get married.
|If he's someone you really, really like, that really, really helps!|
Now let's say you're already engaged. Should you busy yourself with the wedding? Of course, but don't get distracted from your upcoming lifetime commitment. This is the time you should be seriously evaluating yourself, your fiancé, and your relationship. Most couples are surprised to find that their engagement period is one of the hardest times together. Not only do you have a wedding to plan but you’re also contemplating the reality of a future with your partner. Plus, this is usually when you're spending lots of money and time with each other's family. The stress of it can be overwhelming. As long as the stress is all coming from the outside and not from each other, you should be fine!
Anyway, I wanted to share with you the questions that played on my mind when I got engaged and maybe, if you're also wishing to get married, you should ask yourself these things before your wedding happens!
Are Your Finances Secure?
What Do You Want For Your Wedding?
Let’s face it—love won't keep you alive. No matter how romantic that song goes, you can't survive on sex, hugs and kisses. You got to eat, you need a roof over your head, you got to pay the bills. You don't have to be rich, but you and your fiancé shouldn't be irresponsible either. Can you live on your own? Can you support a family? If kids aren't in the plans, can you support your dreams?
Money affects a marriage profoundly. When you feel insecure or even afraid because the bills are piling up, creditors are knocking on your door, your kids aren't eating enough, or you can't afford the doctor or proper treatment when the kids are sick, your marriage will crumble. Marriages aren't built on money, sure, but they are built on a strong foundation of duty. Part of that duty is to provide for each other.
During your engagement, you can already gauge your fiancé's financial readiness. Do you know each other's money situation like income, debts, and assets? Can you discuss the wedding budget comfortably or is talking about money a big no-no? Are you getting into debt just to have the wedding of your dreams? Is he shooting down your wishes because he doesn't want to spend money at all? If there are money issues now, you can be sure you'll always be fighting about these when you're married so address them now before it's too late!
What Do You Want For Your Wedding?
Speaking of the wedding of your dreams, make sure it's the wedding you BOTH want. Have you ever gone to a wedding where you know it's a bridezilla up there at the altar or it was a domineering groom who's running the show? You can see just one person's personality! It doesn't bode well for a successful marriage because marriage is a partnership, not a dictatorship.
It’s important that your wedding day itself represents what both of you want. You may be the bride but remember you're sharing that "stage" with your man! Always consider what he wants, too. Think about your husband-to-be carefully—the way in which he proposed may signify what he wants the wedding to be like. For example, if he asked your father for your hand, then he may be a traditionalist.
My husband didn't ask my parents' permission to marry me because he knows I'm a feminist and I would be offended by any act robbing me of my agency. Yet even though he knew I didn't want an engagement ring, he still gave me one and an extremely traditional one, too—a diamond solitaire! This made me reflect on why we give diamond rings (because diamonds mean tradition and they signify forever) and I realized that my husband may respect my very modern attitudes but he remains old-fashioned in some areas. So I made sure that our wedding had a modern vibe but kept everything else—white dress, my parents walking me down the aisle, our vows—strictly traditional.
My wedding was all about compromise. It made me understand that it isn't about me anymore. Marriage is going to be about yielding, understanding, compromising, and working together. My wedding made me realize that I'm okay with that.
|Vince said he always imagined me with flowers in my hair so I gave him that, too.|
Do You Communicate Well?
The stress of wedding planning can be terrible, so if you start to bicker about small and unimportant things, don’t worry too much. It’s only natural to get snappy in times of stress! Just take a deep breath and take a step back to stop the arguments from escalating any further.
However, if you feel that your conversations aren’t productive and that you're arguing too much, then that's a big red flag. Filipinos are lucky because we're close to our family and friends and we can bring up our worries to them and they can hopefully give good advice. But I find that family and friends tend to take our side (because they love us very much!) and aren't very forgiving of anyone who causes us pain—that includes your fiancé! So maybe you and your fiancé should consider going to a relationship counselor and talking about your issues before you get married. Make sure you iron out any glitches in your relationship before you make that big commitment.
Do You Want The Same Things?
Finally, one of the most important questions to ask during your engagement is if you and your fiancé want the same things. Of course, no one is the exact same as each other. If you're planning your honeymoon and one of you is desperate to visit France and the other’s craving pizza and pasta in Italy then you can compromise. But if you disagree on fundamental issues then you might start to realize that there are cracks in your relationship.
There’s no point in marrying someone in the hopes that they might change, particularly on subjects like wanting children, keeping your career, supporting his dreams, religious and political beliefs. Some things are so integral to who we are that to spend our lives with someone who doesn't agree with those integral parts of ourselves is asking for a lot of pain and suffering.
Wanting the same things, sharing the same values, and heading in the same direction are key to the success of a relationship. While my husband and I shared many beliefs and priorities, we also had a lot of differences. He knew I liked being a career woman (his parents were the traditional husband-provider and housewife) and I knew he wanted kids (I was leery of them). Before we got married, we had a talk where he assured me he'll always support my desire to work and I assured him that with him as my partner in parenting, I'm not so afraid of motherhood anymore (I still freaked out when I found out I was pregnant more than two years later haha).
So if you have a boyfriend now or just got engaged, ask yourself these questions. If you like the answers, then congratulations! I'm so excited for you! If you don't like your answers, then see if you and your man can work out your issues. Good luck!